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  • Science Ticker

    The moon is about as old as we thought it was

    Many, many moons ago, a proto-planet the size of Mars slammed into early Earth. In its wake, the collision left a planetary disk that formed the moon and sent bits of proto-planet flying into our solar system’s main asteroid belt. The collision occurred around 4.47 billion years ago, researchers report in the April 17 ...

    04/17/2015 - 06:00 Planetary Science, Earth
  • News

    Meeting of the Americas came early, study suggests

    North and South America may have hooked up 10 million years earlier than thought.

    Many scientists think that the seaway separating the two continents closed about 3 million years ago, sparking mass animal migrations and an ice age in the Northern Hemisphere. After analyzing crystals excavated from an ancient South American streambed, researchers...

    04/09/2015 - 14:00 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Canadian glaciers face drastic demise

    The Great White North may lose its glaciers faster than previously thought. A detailed physics simulation of how glaciers melt in a warming world show that Western Canada’s glaciers will shed 70 percent of their ice by 2100 relative to their 2005 volumes, researchers report online April 6 in Nature Geoscience. That level...

    04/06/2015 - 11:00 Climate, Earth
  • Screentime

    Spot the northern lights with Aurorasaurus

    The Twitterverse can help you catch a glimpse of the shimmering northern lights. The NASA-backed Aurorasaurus project uses crowdsourcing to assemble a real-time map of aurora sightings around the Northern Hemisphere. Aurora-related tweets and reports made by citizen scientists feed in to the project through its smartphone apps and website.


    04/03/2015 - 07:00 Earth, Astronomy
  • News

    Plate loss gave chain of Pacific islands and seamounts a bend

    The disappearance of a tectonic plate into Earth’s interior may be responsible for the distinctive bend in the chain of underwater mountains and islands that includes the Hawaiian archipelago.

    A reconstruction of the mantle flowing under the Pacific Ocean about 50 million years ago suggests that the submergence of the Izanagi Plate near East Asia reversed the flow’s direction. This...

    03/31/2015 - 14:14 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Antarctic ice shelves rapidly melting

    Antarctica’s ice shelves are shrinking at an accelerating rate, one of the longest satellite records of ice thickness reveals. Researchers report online March 26 in Science that several West Antarctic ice shelves are now on pace to disappear completely within 100 years.

    Floating ice shelves mark the...

    03/26/2015 - 14:00 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Tethys Ocean implicated in Pangaea breakup

    Pangaea’s breakup may have been an outside job.

    A reexamination of tectonic movements 200 million years ago suggests that the supercontinent was pulled apart by shrinking of the forerunner to the modern Indian Ocean. The new work, presented online February 27 in Geology, signals that scientists...

    03/08/2015 - 08:00 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Volcanic lightning forges tiny glass balls from airborne ash

    Lightning bolts that flash and clash high above erupting volcanoes can forge flying ash into glass, new research finds. The mechanism could explain the origins of odd microscopic glass beads found embedded in ash deposits, the researchers report online February 27 in Geology.

    A volcanic eruption...

    03/03/2015 - 14:20 Earth, Climate
  • Letters to the Editor

    Water's unclear origins, shaky solutions to climate change and more reader feedback

    Water’s origin story

    New evidence suggests that comets may not have delivered water to Earth. Water detected in comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s hazy atmosphere isn’t a chemical match for Earth’s oceans, as Ashley...

    02/25/2015 - 10:30 Earth, Planetary Science
  • News

    Steam bubbles carry gold and sulfur up from Earth’s depths

    Dense mixes of sulfur and metals such as gold and copper can catch a lift to the top of magma reservoirs on the undersides of rising steam bubbles, new research suggests.

    After heating capsules of materials commonly found in magma, researchers discovered heavy droplets of sulfur and metal stuck to the bottom of floating water vapor bubbles. The mechanism may explain the large amounts of...

    02/23/2015 - 11:00 Earth